Kia ora, Goshophiles!
Hayley is still in the US of A, this week perfecting her raccoon-wrasslin’ skills in the wild woods of Minnesota. She’ll be back next week, but for now you’ve got me. Buckle in, because I’m putting the pedal to the metal this week (as a young man might say on the mean streets of Paraparaumu)!
In case you missed it, we’re happy to say that there will be a Gosh Exclusive Bookplate Edition of Grandville Mon Amour, the latest in the adventures of Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock by Bryan Talbot. The book is out early next month, but we’re not expecting these to last too long, so get in quick and reserve yours now!
Every now and then a book it released that is so hefty, so colossal, so shelf-defyingly huge that we can’t actually supply you with a bag to carry it home in. 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking, by Paul Levitz, is one of those books. It’s not cheap, but it’s an absolute must for DC fans, the kind of book you’ll be forever kicking yourself for not having picked up when you had the chance. Shipping in it’s own handsomely decorated box, the book is a lovely piece in and of itself, with the design sense of Taschen’s top end art books applied to a year by year trawl through then history of DC Comics. It has to be seen and handled to be truly appreciated, and luckily enough we have a display copy out for your perusal. Taschen also have plenty of images, including the below dwarfed Paul Levitz, here.
You know, Christmas is just around the corner. It’s been a tough year, and winter stretches out before you like a long, grey night of the soul. Just imagine; an interminable Christmas afternoon sat in front of the fire, your belly full of turkey and pudding. You’re bored, listless. Then you notice it, sitting under your coffee table where you were forced to store it: 75 Years of DC Comics. You go over and pick it up (bending at the knees so as not to throw your back), settle yourself back with some mince pies and a nice cup of tea (or perhaps some mulled wine), and read. Immediately you’re transported back to your childhood, those hazy days of yesteryear, full of bubblegum cards and stolen kisses, tyrannical schoolmasters and weekly trawls around the newsagents to get all the titles you were after. The afternoon passes in a bliss of sweet nostalgia. Or you could read it this weekend and look at all the pretty pictures. Up to you really.
Whatever you choose, in celebration of the book’s release we very pleased to be able to offer a super deal on a number of DC’s deluxe Archive range of books. If you’ve long had your eye on those saucy slices of comic history, but not quite wanted to splash out the full-price cash, then good news! We’ve been given the opportunity to offer a selection of these titles at 50% off the regular retail price! If you email us expressing interest in this deal, we can send you through a spreadsheet lisiting the books that are available. Just mark in the books you would like in the sheet, and email it back to us before 3pm on Monday 22nd November. Please note that supply of the books is conditional upon stocks at the supplier end, so we can’t guarantee you’ll get them, but we’ll certainly try for you, and we’ll drop you a line when they arrive. Also, we would ask that any books ordered should be collected within a two week period of their arrival, as space to store such items is extremely limited. Joe Kubert’s Enemy Ace Archives Vol 1 for £19 anyone? For a full list, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Archive Sale” in the subject header.
Fans of Alan Moore’s dulcet tones would be well advised to check out the lovely Unearthing Deluxe Boxed Set this week. It’s a spoken word piece by Moore which takes us through the life of his mentor and friend Steve Moore (no relation), the man Alan credits with teaching him how to write comics. With a soundtrack by a troupe of talented musicians, including Adam Drucker & Andy Broder (aka Crook&Flail) Mike Patton, Stuart Braithwaite, Zach Hill & Justin Broadrick, and a packaging imagery by acclaimed photographer Mitch Jenkins, this 2-hour narrative is spellbinding. The box set brings together both CD and vinyl versions of the full performance, as well as an additional EP with highlights from the score, imagery from Jenkins and a copy of Moore’s original script. Well worth it.
Our friends at Blank Slate publishing, who are producing an ever-more impressive range of titles with each passing quarter, bring us two new books this week. First up, The Girl and the Gorilla, by Madeline Flores. What’s it about? Aurelie is having a rough day. But her foul mood is quickly forgotten when she crosses paths with a Gorilla. Her day only gets more interesting from there! A chat with historical characters, a hunter who takes her under his wing and a forest of unusual residents. What else will she encounter? And who will save the day? German-born, US-based and thoroughly European in her style, Flores’ art has a lovely fluid, accessible quality to it, and the book looks like a lot of fun. A quick review of it (and my next pick) can be found here. Note the positive notice for At the Mountains of Madness, by the way. Bookplate editions still available. (I’m such a shill)
Second out the gate from Blank Slate is Sleepyheads, by Randall.C, a beautiful, lush dreamscape of a comic. It has an hypnotic, flowing style to it which reminds me of Pederosa’s Three Shadows, though the story is markedly different. The Comics Journal says: Randall C.’s stories are a Chinese puzzle box of which Neil Gaiman even would lose track of the pieces. He exells at metaphoric storytelling jumps, literally letting the characters dive into their own stories and incorporating that story into the main storyline where borders between dreams, stories and reality blur into one whole beautiful cuddle. All of this is accentuated with meanderings on life and love, wrapped in allegory, metaphor and playful language. Pick one up for a flick-through and discover it for yourself.
A little late to the party here, but the new Best American Comics 2010 is now out, guest edited this year by none other than Neil Gaiman. If you’re unfamiliar with these books, they’re a great way to find out about comics and creators who made a splash this past year but you may have overlooked. It’s a mix of extracts from longer works and self-contained shorts from a line-up of talent including Bryan Lee O’Malley, Gabrielle Bell, Chris Ware, David Mazzucchelli, Gilbert & Mario Hernandez, and Robert Crumb, among others. A great gift for anyone you want to introduce to the idea of comics as more than they might think.
David B. is a creator who always gets us a bit excited, so we’re happy to see his adaptation of Pierre Mac Orlan’s classic haunted pirate tale The Littlest Pirate King. It’s the first time we’ve seen David B’s colour art in English, and it’s a lovely thing to behold. It’s lovely to see Fantagraphics produce these kinds of lovely all-ages books with such high production quality. Long may it continue. Check out a preview here , and one of those ginchy Fantagraphics flick-throughs over here.
Okay, time to point some bullets:
- Batman, Batman, Batman! Did you know that if you say his name five times fast while looking in a mirror, he’ll appear behind you and steal your belt? True fact. Or maybe I got confused. Anyway, this week is a bumper crop for Grant Morrison Bat-fans, with both Batman Inc #1 and (the slightly late) Batman The Return #1 shipping out. Bruce Wayne is back. Oh yeah, I totally spoiled it for you! Previews for the former here!
- Dan Brereton is a legend, and Nocturnals is still an old favourite of mine, with it’s lush, painted family of misfit monsters. This week he has an art book on the shelves called Dan Brereton: The Goddess and the Monster. Newsarama interview him over here.
- Mike Mignola and Richard Corben make a great team, producing a consistent series of one-shots that have been some of the most entertaining books coming out of the Hellboy camp (which is high praise, given the consistent level of quality in that stable). This week they’re at it again with Hellboy Double Feature of Evil, featuring two stories with your favourite paranormal investigator. Dark Horse have a preview.
- The Extremist is one of the great lost Vertigo mini-series, never before collected. The Peter Milligan / Ted McKeever thriller (conceived by Brendan McCarthy) is a story of murder and betrayal against the backdrop of the extreme S&M scene. Controversial on its release in 1993, Vertigo have at last released it as a part of their Vertigo Resurrected line.
- Osborn #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios follows Norman Osborne as he establishes his power base in the top-secret prison he now calls home. Also features a back-up story by Warren Ellis. Newsarama preview it here.
- Elmer GN, by Filipino artist Gerry Alanguilan, is the story of evolved, sentient chickens making a stand for their rights as the newest members of the human race. I think it might, just might, be some kind of allegory. It’s certainly getting a lot of praise, and looks very nice. There’s an amazing 30-page pdf preview here. But it has naughty bits, so no reading at work!
- Castle Waiting is a wonderful book, worthy of a good deal more attention than it gets. It’s a witty fantasy tale of women who work to build a refuge from an abandoned fairy tale castle, telling each other stories and doing their best to deal with the obstacles that life throws in their path. Creator Linda Medley has a clean, clear style and a knack for understated character. A contemporary of Bone, it’s certainly recommended to any fans of that series. The second hardcover volume is out this week, and you can find a video flickeroonie here.
- The third of Fantagraphics’ bumper Jason collections is out this week. What I Did HC collects together mystery adaptation The Iron Wagon, silent vignette collection Sshhhh!, and – my personal favourite of all Jason’s works – Hey, Wait…. If Hey, Wait… doesn’t break your heart just a little bit, I’m afraid to say that my diagnosis is that you’re dead inside.
- Eisner Shop SC is a collection of rare early Will Eisner stories from the pre-Spirit days, including Wags, the Black X, Uncle Sam, Mr. Mystic, Lady Luck, Baseball Comics and more.
- Last Days of American Crime by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini is a great slice of near-future sci-fi noir, set at the eve of the activation of a mind control device which will make crime impossible in the USA. A career criminal looks to make one last heist before the switch gets flicked. A fun read, with absolutely gorgeous art
And now for the news:
- Thought Bubble, the universally well-regarded comics convention held in Leeds as a part of the Leeds International Film Festival, is this coming weekend. It’s a four day event running 18th-21st November, with its centrepiece being the one day show held on Saturday 20th in Saviles Hall. John Romita Jr is the guest of honour, with Becky Cloonan making a special appearance, as well as a bevy of great UK writers and artists. Bryan Talbot will also be officially launching his latest, Grandville Mon Amour. More details can be found here. I’ll be in attendance, so if you see me wandering about, feel free to buy me a drink. Or, y’know, just give me the money and I’ll get it myself later. Promise.
And that’s me done! Ka kite ano!